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Broken Arrow's new tool to help kids shoot for the stars

Posted at 3:00 PM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 20:29:06-04

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — There's a new tool in Broken Arrow for anyone with sky-high dreams. It's called the Voyage Solar System Walkway.

"A solar system model that allows children to understand something this big with this much space," says Pat Smith, a former Broken Arrow Educator and one of the walkway co-founders.

The Voyage is a 1-to-10 billion scale model of the solar system. It has 13 different stations that stretch 6 ½ football fields long. The Voyage Solar System Walkway starts with a welcome sign and the sun in front of Creekwood Elementary and travels to Broken Arrow High School, where you'll find Pluto.

A team of former educators spent 25 years bringing The Voyage here. Dr. Jeff Goldstein, a globally recognized educator and planetary scientist created the concept.

There's a new tool in Broken Arrow for anyone with sky-high dreams. It's called the Voyage Solar System Walkway. Aug. 31, 2022.

"It is a national program that started way back with the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum," Smith said.

A few other major cities like Washington, D.C., and Houston have walkways like this, but Broken Arrow is the smallest community to have one. It is also the only one that's funded through a grassroots community effort.

"For instance, the sun is donated by Betty Craig, an 80-something-year-old retired teacher," said. "It's been a group effort, no endowment, no major foundation, just a lot of people coming together to make this happen."

The Voyage was installed this summer, and educators have already jumped onboard.

"I love that it's right here and open for our families to utilize any time. We've incorporated it into our school theme of the solar system with a motto of 'go the distance,'" says Nancy Jones, a reading specialist at Creekwood Elementary.

The Voyage Solar System Walkway is open 24/7 and free to explore.

"Take a walk down and learn about space. It'll be a great day!" says Jedidiah Platt, a 4th-grader.

It's a community gift inspiring kids to shoot for the stars.

"One day, they'll make a difference in the world," says Smith.

"And if they want to learn about the solar system- this will be a great place for them!" says Platt.

The official ribbon cutting is on Sept. 13, 2022. You can learn more about the Voyage Solar System Walkway here.

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